Mahant Swami Maharaj first met Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1951. Over the next 65 years, he experienced Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life from close range in a multitude of situations. Expressing his observations, Mahant Swami Maharaj wrote a Gujarati book, ‘Jeva Me Nirakhya Re… 4’, on the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Amrut Mahotsav in 1995. The following are excerpts from an English translation of this book by Chaitanyamurti Swami, published by Swaminarayan Aksharpith as ‘Divine Memories 4’.
Without a doubt, as you dive deeper into his personality, Swamishri will seem more and more special, more and more awe-inspiring.
We have heard of his virtues, we have interrogated him with our own eyes, we have experienced his proximity many times – yet, we haven’t even come close to knowing him as he really is. He seems so plain and common. In fact, he’s much like a tiger, perfectly camouflaged in the jungles of Bengal. Its yellow and black stripes match absolutely flawlessly with the yellow cane and dark backdrop of the jungle. Imagine, a tiger! Such a powerful and overwhelming creature! But it is so perfectly disguised and concealed, it becomes merged with the jungle. In the same manner, Swamishri has camouflaged himself in our ‘jungle’. He accepts the shackles of this world, or so it appears to us. Swamishri has willingly accepted the ways of our world. But in reality, he is detached, far and above.
What role does Swamishri play in our lives? One answer is that he is an expert at diagnosing the aches and pains of our daily life. He knows what to prescribe for which ailment; he also knows when to prescribe and in what proportion. He constantly delights in the bliss of God; but he also knows how to share with the rest of us. He shows how to make life and all its actions divine. He is a perfect sadhu. He is an ideal guru. Through his own life he has demonstrated the ideals of devotion to one’s guru. He is the ideal ‘devotee’, showing us the subtleties and intricacies of devotion to God, in its purest form. He is the house of God. He shows how to keep God. He is the leader of our Gunatit community – the Satsang fold. He leads us to God. So great and glorious! Yet, so modest and concealed! No wonder we have failed to recognize him. He has camouflaged his identity superbly.
A genuine sadhu is one who has constant rapport with God. He lives within the framework of God’s commands and wishes which he follows with utmost faith. His seat, instead of being situated in the snow-capped mountains, is located among the people, where they are most comfortable. His workplace is society and his work is worship. He works faithfully – but always for the good of others, never for himself. He works constantly amongst the people; yet he firmly maintains the disciplines of celibacy and renunciation of wealth.
When Shriji Maharaj visualized the image of an ideal sadhu, he had had a personality like Swamishri in mind. Such a sadhu is engrossed in devotion and inspires others to do the same. Such a sadhu cleanses us skilfully and imperceptibly. Even in today’s rapidly changing age, he produces results by using the traditional tools of love and saintliness. Keeping these facts in mind, we can assert that Swamishri is a genuine Sadhu.
Swamishri’s character, virtues and personality are such that the aspirant is assured of moksha. Superficially, though, it may seem that Swamishri is not making an effort to liberate us. Because in him, there is no show. No glamour. No hankering to make an impression. No deceit. No claims to high knowledge. No gimmicks. He works only through pure, genuine saintliness. This is his secret.
The basic source of Swamishri’s profound bliss is different from ours. He has never turned to what the entire world has turned to for happiness – wealth, women and power. For him, God is the only goal and God is the only means. The profound experience of the bliss of God is so overpowering that it pales into insignificance the enjoyment gained from praise and pleasures.
The lustre of his saintliness is so encompassing in his activities and overall personality that nothing else remains. From all angles, pure, pristine saintliness is all one sees. The guidance of a father, the love of a mother, the warmth of a brother, the aptitude of a leader – many have experienced these aspects as well. But even in these roles, his saintliness shines out. Why does his saintliness surface so spontaneously through each of his virtues? It is because God resides within him in all his glory and brilliance. Where there is God, there is purity, there is piety – saintliness.
Swamishri is a Param Ekantik Sadhu. In Vachanamrut Vartal 3, such a sadhu has been compared with the geothermal fire which burns even in water, at the bottom of our oceans. The fire is fully submerged in water, yet it remains unaffected by it. Similarly, Swamishri lives in the world, yet he is untouched by its charms. The ease and intrinsic nature of his detachment, in addition to his firmness in abiding by the dictates of God, is also proof of his absorption in God.
This is the Swamishri I have experienced!
Swamishri is forever engrossed in God. Then how can praise and insult ever disturb his inner stability? In fact, his inner calm does not allow any such outer agitation to perturb him. Even outwardly we notice the same calm, peace, stability and bliss.
A true sadhu is the ideal receptacle of God. Wherever Swamishri looks, he sees Maharaj. The same Maharaj who is in Akshardham is present in every atom and particle of creation. And that same Sahajanand resides in every pore of Swamishri, in all his majesty and radiance.